Putting things into Context

It was a rather quiet flight home.  There were no kids crying, no parents screaming… no young drunks singing.  And so I pretty much slept the whole 4 and change hours away.  Still, I think I have a cold.  A cold, however, is a very small price to pay for the memories that were made this past week while at a family wedding in Vancouver.

While I was so very thrilled to see my first cousins again, I must confess that I was driven to get to know their children better – the next generation.  There were so many “new” faces:  Alex and Matt, Anna and Hugo, Misha and Jenn, Amy and Josh, Devin and Jenny, Rachael and Hoby, and finally Carrie-Lynn.  And then there was the next even younger crew, the babies and toddlers:  Jack, Theo, Leo, Misha, and Lexi. Wow.

While our parents ensured that we, the first cousins, were all connected, I am afraid we, the next generation, have not done the same.  We get busy with life.  We get busy with kids and work and neglect our roots – which connect and ground us.  They give us a sense of context.  Family is context.

I brought the Malloff family photo album with me to Vancouver to show the “next generation” where they came from.  They flipped through the pages and consumed the images before them with great appetite.  There were questions, challenges, comments.  And Pam, our family historian, addressed them with a smile on her face.  I watched the scene unfold.  The “elder” was passing along tradition, history, and … context.

Maybe context is more like glue.  Glue that holds family together and gives us strength?  We care for each other, we understand more about ourselves when we are together, we feel more complete when we can share stories with one another.

They were such characters:  Bill, Anne, Helen, and Paula.  Their character was built through toil and hard work.  They were the first born children to an immigrant family trying to forge a life in a land that was foreign.  It took hard work to raise a family in a country that spoke a different language, had different traditions and cultures, and different values.  They had to find a balance between the old world and the new world.  They wanted to “fit in”, yet maintain their own identity. They glued their children together – and that bond lasted.  Being raised in the same house, the same province, and the same country helped.  Over time, the children moved away and raised their own families.  Yet, they stayed together.  We, the second generation were taught to value our families and to communicate with each other.  Hence, why we got together this past week in Vancouver for the meeting of the “third” generation.  Not everyone could attend.  The family has grown so much in size and each has children at different stages in life.  But – one day – each will realize that there is nothing more important than our roots…

And the family glue will stick.

I love my roots.  I love the traditions, the music, the culture.  Over the years, it will fade, it will undergo metamorphosis.   I realize this.  That’s okay.  These things can serve as our common denominator as long as we make the effort to stick together.  Family is our context.  It is a way to put meaning to our lives.  With meaning, we survive from generation to generation.

Yes, a cold is indeed a very small price to pay for a week that helped me find my roots and my context and inspired the next generation to apply a little “glue”.

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About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
This entry was posted in family, family history, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Putting things into Context

  1. fantastic photo – and sounds wonderful. I have noticed that cousins no longer know each other well – so many of us now move far from home for careers or other reasons. When I was a child we were all within a stones throw of each other. However, I am hopeful for the generations coming as I have noticed that my children and their cousins keep in good touch on-line.

  2. I’m happy for you. We siblings just don’t keep in touch and it was that way in the past two generations as well, for various reasons.

    • inmycorner says:

      Thanks, Christine. I would have loved a ton of siblings – but I know there can be some major personality conflicts. Maybe first cousins are “just that much further” removed for comfort?

  3. sharechair says:

    I think a lot about this, too. Although I knew my cousins growing up, I’m not in touch with them much and I don’t know their children, at all. And oddly, I feel the loss. I regret that I didn’t work to keep those relationships alive. But as you pointed out ….. we all get busy with our lives……..
    I’m so glad you had a wonderful time! Now rest and kick that cold!

    • inmycorner says:

      In bed as I write … after making broccoli soup! Yeah – it is a tough one. Keeping in touch takes a ton of work and persistence. I am better with those on facebook than those I have to call.

  4. mandibelle16 says:

    Sounds like a lovely event and interesting people to meet. You honestly don’t realize when you’re younger how important family history is. I think in the past year, I have only begun to pepper my Grandma’swith questions and even realize there is so much about My Grandpa’s and all my great Aunts and Uncles, I don’t know. Thanks for sharing. Always praying for your healing!

  5. Gallivanta says:

    Great to hear about your time with ‘family’. Family glue is great stuff but, unfortunately, it does seem to weaken a bit among the younger generations.

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